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Families battle to halt flood barriers

FAMILIES and businesses in a Dublin suburb fear they will lose their sea view if a new flood defence project is built.

Dublin City Council is on the verge of awarding a contract to construct barriers in Clontarf to protect properties against rising sea levels.

The scheme will see a series of mounds and walls averaging just under two metres in height being built along the suburb's seafront promenade, between Alfie Byrne Road and the Bull Wall.

The project, which has been approved by An Bord Pleanala, will raise the ground level by up to 2.7 metres in some places.

But the Clontarf Residents' Association (CRA) and Clontarf Business Association (CBA) have both expressed concern at the proposals.



Joggers

"If implemented, the sea view in Clontarf will be eliminated," they said in a joint statement, adding that "pedestrians or joggers using the pathway close to the sea will not be able to see the road".

"Equally importantly they will not be visible from the road which produces its own potential security risk."

They added: "Protecting our homes and businesses from flooding is vital. The CRA and the CBA were aware that these defences were being planned in the form of a mound or wall. However, both the CRA and the CBA were under the impression that the height would be under one metre.

Gus O'Hara of the CBA told the Herald there were opposing views over the plans, with some locals backing the increased level of protection.

Following severe flooding in 2002, Clontarf was identified by a study as one of the city's "at risk" zones.

The local authority is holding a special meeting on the plans next week for local councillors.

Project manager for the scheme Adrian Conway pointed out the "big win" for families in Clontarf is the stronger defences.

The only extra protection available at the moment is sandbags which the council installs in the event of a flood alert -- at a cost of between €70,000 and €100,000 every time the sacks are used.

But Mr Conway admitted: "The downside (of the new defence project) is that it will change the look of the place."

Along parts of the walkway, where there is not enough room for a mound, a wall will have to be constructed. The contract for the scheme is to be awarded in the next few weeks and work will begin early in 2012.

comurphy@herald.ie